Palace 'respects' China's probe into Huang Rulun

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government respects China's probe into corruption allegations against Huang Rulun, the Chinese billionaire who funded the country's biggest drug rehabilitation facility.

Malacañang said on Wednesday, June 28, that it sees the investigation as internal to China.

"That is of course internal to China and rest assured that President Duterte is one with the President of the People's Republic of China in its drive against corruption," Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said in a news conference.

WATCH: Palace on China's investigation on corruption allegations vs Huang Rulun, Chinese donor of drug rehab center. @rapplerdotcom pic.twitter.com/27Yh4dP262 — Pia Ranada (@piaranada) June 28, 2017

 

The outcome of the investigation on bribery allegations is all "up to China," Banaag added.

Asked if the Duterte administration will continue to accept donations or assistance from Huang, Banaag said, "That we don't know yet and we won't comment on that."

She also denied knowledge on what the Palace or President Rodrigo Duterte knew about such allegations against Huang before accepting his help.

Amid the controversy, Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial said the Philippines will be "forever grateful" to Huang for his help.

'Good Samaritan'

Duterte has called Huang a "good Samaritan" and has heaped praised on him on numerous occasions, including when they attended the inauguration of the mega drug rehabilitation facility in Nueva Ecija which Huang funded. 

The Philippine leader said of Huang, "He just came out of nowhere and went to my office and said that he would help me solve the drug problem."

The Chinese billionaire, who started his business in Binondo, Manila, donated P1.4 billion for two drug rehabilitation centers occupying a total area of 100,000 square meters.

Huang had first announced his intention to make the donation during a meeting with Duterte on July 27 in Malacañang. Before then, Huang had met Duterte twice, first on June 28, then on June 30 during Duterte's inauguration as president.

The two also met during Duterte's state visit to China last October.

According to Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr, Huang was introduced to Duterte by a common Chinese friend. 

Huang is the founder of real estate conglomerate Century Golden Resources Group, a Chinese-based company that posted a $5-billion turnover in 2015, according to its website. 

Century Golden owns 20 5-star hotels and 10 large shopping malls, including Century City complex in Beijing, and has investments all over China, in Hong Kong, the Philippines, Sweden, and Denmark.

The conglomerate has been listed among China's "Top 500 enterprises" 11 times since 2005. In 2009, it ranked second in terms of national real estate sales area and ranked 8th in gross sales nationwide. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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